It’s been four months since my ‘fresh start’. I’ve chosen this quiet moment to sit down, reflect and record a few snippets.
New country: Egypt
What a country! When I first heard the news that we might be moving to Cairo, my rational self was instinctively on guard but my other self was calmly whispering a welcoming tune. Despite the chaotic image it has and the nuisance you are bound to encounter on many levels on a daily basis in this ancient city, my inner voice keeps telling me that this is a place that ‘will be alright’. ‘il7amdulillah’, as I was reflecting on my Egyptian life in a lift with the titanic theme tune, I couldn’t help but thought that I actually rather fancied Egypt. A place with character and real life.
I started work the day after I landed. It was rather intense to start with but as I just kept my head down and got on with it, it’s been working out fine. It’s the first place I’ve taught where I turned out to be ‘relatively experienced’ and ‘highly qualified’. What a change to be in a place where there is so much opportunity for training and seeing training in action. That energy, curiosity and intense desire to learn and experiment emanated from the new gang around me is so inspiring. It reminds me that even though my own development has still a long way to go, I’m not quite at the same stage as some of my fresher colleagues because I can no longer call myself a novice. It tells me not to become complacent and urges me to keep observing, reflecting and taking action to improve myself. This, I thought, requires some writing. So here I am.
I did not have high hopes on the living standards here. Experience has taught me that expectations are major obstacles to one’s inner happiness.
Zero expectation: This is pretty much the attitude I’ve been taking since the day I arrived – be it at work, sitting in traffic, pondering why certain things and people’s behaviour are the way they are. Thanks to this perspective, I’ve probably saved me from countless nervous breakdowns I could have had if I had stayed my old self. It’s true that I still have my bad days when I would throw this out of the window but on the whole I could say that I have been doing well to let that little cloud of thought gently and quietly float away without being shaded or weighed down.
Forget ‘cloud-surfing’! Life is much lighter when you are just cloud-watching.